About Vuma Levin

In an age of unprecedented mobility, young black South Africans find themselves in a curious dual position: On the one hand they are tied to the South African democratic national project and its related histories, power dynamics and identities. On the other, the world is becoming increasingly transnational in character broadening cultural debates around national belonging, history, power and identity. The contradictions that emerge from this dual position have a profound impact on the existential concerns of people from the global south: Who are we? How do we form relationships? How do we love? Where do we belong?

Vuma Levin’s music is an attempt to tease out and musically abstract upon these contradictions. In doing so it hopes to respond to the “single story” told about Africa and its people, and to articulate the South African cultural narrative in the 21st century.

By drawing on the rich harmonic palette of contemporary Jazz, the upbeat yet at times melancholic sounds of South African Nguni-Sotho song, the groove and accessibility of various strands of pop music and by exploring sound design via the use of traditional instruments such as the gourd bow and mbira, digital samples, loops and prepared instruments the band, explores new identities in the African diaspora, painting a musical portrait of South Africa that is at once contemporary yet intimately tied to multiple rich historical traditions.

Having its origins at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Vuma Levin Quintet is a multi-cultural band featuring various up and coming and multi-award winning musicians on the Dutch Scene. Since its inception in 2014 the outfit as well as Vuma has performed at multiple venues and festivals in South Africa and Europe including, The North Sea Jazz Festival (NED), Jazz in Duketown (NED), Amersfoort Jazz Festival (NED), Montreux Jazz Festival(CH), Jazz Werkstatt (CH), Budapest Palace of the Arts (HUN), Cape Town International Jazz Festival (RSA), Grahamstown Jazz festival (RSA), Joy of Jazz (RSA), Bimhuis (NED), Lantarenvenster (NED), Verkadefabriek (NED), Birds Eye (CH), The Orbit (RSA) and more.

Furthermore, Vuma has been nominated for and won prizes at various competitions including Montreux Socar International Jazz guitar competition, Keep an Eye Jazz Awards 2014, Keep an Eye “The Records” Awards 2015AHK eindwerk Prijs 2014, Keep an Eye Jazz Awards 2016 and the Dutch Jazz Competition 2016.

Promising South African guitarist and composer Vuma Levin mixes styles from his home country with jazz, pop and electronics.

– NPO2 (Dutch National Television)